I am an anthropologist and Research Associate at CARMAH.
My postdoctoral research, part of CARMAH’s project Making Differences in Berlin: Transforming Museums and Heritage in the 21st Century, examined difference, belonging and translocality, and the politics and poetics of representation and recognition, mostly in relation to Islam and heritage-making in Berlin. To this end, I conducted ethnographic fieldwork at the Museum of European Cultures and looked at the collaboration between the museum and the art group KUNSTASYL, the majority of whose members recently arrived in Germany from the conflict-battered countries of Syria and Iraq. This project resulted in the exhibition daHEIM: Einsichten in flüchtige Leben (translated as daHEIM: Glances into Fugitive Lives) and a series of performances. In addition, I researched i,Slam, a Berlin-based collective of young Muslims, and ways in which they combine oral traditions of ‘Islamic heritage’ with a contemporary format of poetry performance.
Prior to becoming an anthropologist, I trained as a political scientist, interpreter and human rights consultant. I studied anthropology in Edinburgh, Warsaw and London. Also, I was awarded several fellowships, including at the Free University of Berlin, the American University of Beirut and the Orient Institut Beirut. My PhD project was concerned with loss in Beirut and explored how heritage practices were mobilised and framed by then ongoing changes in the city and engaged in future-making. Currently, I am working on a monograph on temporality, heritage and loss in Lebanon’s capital city.
I have written on memory and artistic production; heritage, temporality and loss; access, participation and migration; oral traditions and expressions; translocality; as well as archives. Most recently, I edited the book Islam and Heritage in Europe: Pasts, Presents and Future Possibilities, with Sharon Macdonald and Mirjam Shatanawi. The volume provides fresh insights into entanglements between the concepts of heritage, Europe and Islam, as well as addressing recent developments, such as debates on decolonising museums, the resurgence of nationalist sentiments and Europe’s colonial heritage. In addition, I have been engaged in other modes of knowledge communication, including making a sound installation on the Dutch colonial legacy at Amsterdam Museum. It was composed of recorded testimonies of slavery survivors and their descendants.
Research Expertise and Interests
- Heritage, memory, loss
- Mobility, migration, translocality
- Sound, image, performance
- Middle East – Lebanon
- Europe – Germany
Islam and Heritage in Europe: Pasts, Presents and Future Possibilities, Puzon, Katarzyna, Macdonald Sharon and Mirjam Shatanawi (eds), Routledge, 2021 [Open Access]
‘Germans without Footnotes: Islam, Belonging and Poetry Slam’, in Katarzyna Puzon, Sharon Macdonald and Mirjam Shatanawi (eds) Islam and Heritage in Europe: Pasts, Presents and Future Possibilities, Routledge, 2021 [Open Access]
‘Heritage, Islam, Europe: Entanglements and Directions. An Introduction’, in Katarzyna Puzon, Sharon Macdonald and Mirjam Shatanawi (eds) Islam and Heritage in Europe: Pasts, Presents and Future Possibilities, Routledge, 2021, with Mirjam Shatanawi and Sharon Macdonald [Open Access]
‘Reframing Islam? Potentials and Challenges of Participatory Initiatives in Museums and Heritage’, in Katarzyna Puzon, Sharon Macdonald and Mirjam Shatanawi (eds) Islam and Heritage in Europe: Pasts, Presents and Future Possibilities, Routledge, 2021, with Sharon Macdonald, Christine Gerbich, Rikke Gram and Mirjam Shatanawi [Open Access]
‘Heritage and Policymaking in Lebanon’, Insights into Cultural Policies in Lebanon, the issue edited by Hanane Hajj Ali and Nadia von Maltzahn, Orient-Institut Studies, Beirut, 2021 (in Arabic and English) [Open Access]
‘Participatory Matters: Access, Migration, and Heritage in Berlin Museums’, in Heike Oevermann and Eszter Gantner (eds) Securing Urban Heritage: Agents, Access, and Securitization, Routledge, 2019
‘Saving Beirut: Heritage and the City’, International Journal of Heritage Studies 25(9): 914-925, 2019 (published online in 2017)
‘Translocality’, in Otherwise: Rethinking Museums and Heritage, Centre for Anthropological Research on Museums and Heritage/Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, 2018 [Open Access]
Review of Mara A. Leichtman (2015), ‘Shi’i Cosmopolitanisms in Africa. Lebanese Migration and Religious Conversion in Senegal’, Indiana University Press. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 24(3): 649-650, 2018
Wissen/Schaffen Exhibition Catalogue. Exhibition by Claire Lambe and Susan Ossman at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, 2018, with Claire Lambe and Susan Ossman
‘Memory and Artistic Production in a Post-war Arab City’, in Des O’Rawe and Mark Phelan (eds) Post-confict Performance, Film and Visual Arts: Cities of Memory. Contemporary Performance InterActions, Palgrave Macmillan, 2016